Atlanta Braves new cleanup hitter Marcell Ozuna is in the news in the early days of Spring Training for some controversial comments he made to the press.
What was so shocking to the baseball world was that Ozuna was not able to command a longer contract and in recent comments made to the St. Louis Post Dispatch, Ozuna seemed surprised, too.
He said if he knew his market would have been as poor as it was, then he would have taken the Cardinals’ qualifying offer of $17.8 million.
Ozuna also said his wish all along was to stay with St. Louis and he thought they would have been willing to offer him a longer deal, but it did not materialize.
He is hoping to have a big year for the Braves so he can get the long-term deal he desired this year.
The story also states a couple of interesting tidbits: The Reds reportedly offered Ozuna a long-term deal, which he considered, and then even more interesting—the Braves, too, were open to a long-term deal with Ozuna, but then opted for the one-year offer.
Once the Braves made their offer, Ozuna’s agent came back to the Cardinals one last time in hopes they would offer something, but they said their payroll was set.
Now, Ozuna is a Brave and primed for a huge “prove it” season.
In his two seasons with the Red Birds, Ozuna hit .262/.327/.451 with 52 home runs and 177 runs batted in. Those numbers could actually have been better. Ozuna’s advanced numbers last season, hard-hit rate and exit velocity, suggest that he could be a steal for the Braves.
Hey, this type of deal worked out for the Braves last year with Josh Donaldson, so maybe it does this season with Ozuna.
But there is still an elephant in the room, or at least some Braves fans think there is.
How should the Braves and their fans feel about Ozuna making these comments?
They should feel nothing different. This signing has a chance to be the biggest move of the offseason for the Braves.
If all of the advanced stats are true, Ozuna is going to absolutely rake in a stacked Braves lineup.
It seems very clear based on his comments that Ozuna wants to have the same kind of year that Donaldson had, in order to preserve maybe the last long-term contract of his career.
And even if it means Ozuna simply has a monster year in order to sign back with the Cardinals (which was suggested in the article with the Post-Dispatch), then so be it.
If Ozuna has a big year, then most likely the Braves do too. That’s all that matters to me.